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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Peterís Last Sermon: Identity and Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark
Dawsey, James

Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2010 pp. x + 178. $25.00

Description: What Christian would not want to hear Markís gospel as the first believers heard it? Using the tools of modern scholarship, Peterís Last Sermon takes seriously Markís audience. The community would have heard rather than read the gospel. It would have encountered the story as a whole instead of piecemeal in short texts for sermons. Missing would have been the static of Matthew, Luke, and John. As for the speaker? While most modern scholars table the question of authorship, the postapostolic writers of the second and third centuries claim with one voice that (though penned by Mark) the gospel actually went back to Peter. So to hear the gospel as did those early Christians was to hear it as if coming from him. Does it make a difference to our understanding of Markís message if from Peter? Yes. And the result is surprising. Peterís Last Sermon takes us on a journey through Roman and Jewish texts to meet the Jesus not of the modern Church but of Peterís proclamation in Rome. Neroís persecution had left the community in crisis. What was Peterís message for his time? Christ was different from expected, he said, but how? James Dawsey shows that Christ broke the messianic expectations of his Galilean followers and the Jerusalem religious elite of his day. And as the reader of Peterís Last Sermon will see, he surprised Markís hearers a generation later. The Gospel of Mark still confronts us in new ways.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Mark, Literature

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Review by Adam Winn
Published 7/17/2012
Citation: Adam Winn, review of James Dawsey, Peterís Last Sermon: Identity and Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2012).

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